||[Jul. 24th, 2013|01:09 am]
There’s nothing but geezers in the go salon. Hikaru sort of expected that, since the only person he knows who plays is his grandfather, but the universe has seen fit to confirm it because the youngest guy in the salon has gotta be AT LEAST forty years old. The woman behind the desk is younger, but still not really young.
“What’s your level?” she asks, gesturing for him to write his name on a list. Hikaru scrawls something mostly illegible and smiles a little when she doesn’t ask for more.
“Level?” He asks. He glances at the ghost, but it just shrugs. Hikaru shrugs, too. “I don’t know...”
“You don’t know?” she asks.
“I’ve never played anyone before.” Hikaru says, which isn’t exactly true, but close enough. To make sure she doesn’t give him someone too easy (since the ghost might haunt him even worse), he adds, “I think I’m pretty strong.”
“You’ve never played anyone, but you’re strong?” She laughs at him, but she’s polite enough to hide it.
“Yeah,” Hikaru says, eyeing the crowd again.
Hikaru, the ghost says, standing opposite one of the old men, who is sitting alone and facing a board. Hikaru, I want to play this man.
“The child’s admission price is 500 yen,” the woman says. Hikaru distractedly reaches into his pocket, pulling out the right amount after a moment and putting it onto the counter. “Now, let’s see, who can we ...”
Hikaru, the ghost insists, and the woman’s voice fades into the background. Hikaru, this man -
The ghost is scary like this. Scarier. Something like that. Hikaru ignores the clerk and walks over to the man.
The man that the ghost has chosen is dressed in traditional clothes, a dark brown yukata that sensibly acknowledges the oncoming summer heat. He has light grey hair. And his dark brown eyes smolder as he looks at the board.
“Hey mister,” Hikaru says. The man looks up, and Hikaru’s insides freeze in the face of that cold heat, as the ghost stares down at him unrelentingly. Hikaru is distantly aware that the clerk is trying frantically to get his attention as he continues, “would you like to play a game with me?”
“Hey, kid,” the clerk repeats, louder now that she’s beside him. She bows to the man. “Touya-sensei, I apologize for the interruption. Listen, kid -“
“No,” the man - Touya-sensei? - says, and Hikaru moves to step back, since the ghost isn’t going to get his way if the man isn’t interested. Hikaru’s not about to tempt fate on that one. But the man shakes his head when Hikaru tries to leave, and turns to face the woman as he repeats, “No.”
Touya-sensei turns back to Hikaru.
“It’s not a problem,” Touya-sensei says. He gestures towards the seat across the table from him. Hikaru sits down, uncertainly, as Touya clears the stones from his board.
“Shall we?” Touya-sensei asks.
Hikaru has learned enough to bow as he answers, “Please.”